Costa Crociere has announced that it will dedicate the Costa Marina to German-speaking passengers, starting in spring of 2002.

The Costa Marina will sail in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Black Sea during the spring and fall, and in Northern Europe during the summer, out of Hamburg and Kiel.

The cruise product will be Costa, underlined chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, "but adapted to the German-speaking market. We will not lose our Italian flair," he added.

But Costa is getting more international at least in terms of passengers carried.

Foschi explained that about 30 percent of Costa's passengers are from North and South America, and 70 percent from Europe including 40 percent from Italy. Rather than a pan-European product as recently described by Carnival Corp. executives, Foshi described Costa as pan-world product.

Costa Kreuzfahrten, the company's German sales office, produced 40,000 passengers for Costa in 2000, up 25 percent from 1999.

Seetours

Also in Germany, Seetours is getting ready to launch its new premium brand in July. So far code­ named "Project Tosca," the brand will launch the former Crown Princess in June of 2002 and plans to add the Regal Princess in 2004. Both ships will be refurbished and upgraded to become modern, premium­ level products, according to Seetours President Lars Clasen.

Seetours, which is a division of P&O Princess Cruises, also operates the Aida brand in Germany in the contemporary market segment.

"The new premium brand will be like a Princess Cruises product tailored to the German market," Clasen explained.

Regarding the German market potential, Clasen said that only 0.4 percent of the German population takes a cruise every year, compared to 1.2 percent in the U.K. and two percent in the U.S.